It was around pitch black outside the window, we were just back from a freezing cold scroll around DUMBO, and I oversaw dinner. We were all happily cramped in my New York studio: we hadn’t seen each other in almost four months.
We are a little family of three, and when we are preparing dinner is when we get to talk about deep stuff. Everyone doing their own thing: setting up the table, cooking, being the cooking assistant, cleaning up the space, or choosing a movie. I can’t remember what the topic of that winter night was: the beginning of humankind, exploring the outer space, how technology controls us, which form of government would work best, how humanity could survive climate change, where does evil come from…
“Well... philosophically speaking...," dad articulates in a serious tone as he organizes the groceries in the kitchen shelves. "My butt crack was showing,” he casts in a bizarre and unexpected calm.
I stop stirring the chopped purple onions and red peppers on the pan and turned around to look at him. Mom, sitting over the most uncomfortable narrow red synthetic leather sofa bed that has ever existed, drops her jaw and opens her green eyes wide.
“What??!!”, we both exclaim staring at him depicting a confused face worthy of a meme. His words were far from matching our talk.
Like someone had just screamed “FREEZE!”, dad starts to slowly rise from the ground, as a toddler caught red-handed stealing chocolates from the cookie jar, hunching over his back, like an armadillo rolling, one hand lifting the back of his camouflaged cargo shorts, the other one holding his glasses. He hates those glasses; he can’t see shit from far or close, so the girl from the optical shop next to the Supreme Court of Justice in Buenos Aires made him buy a blue pair with yellow and purple flowers on its legs. He got upset for like two minutes when he arrived home in Buenos Aires that night and I told him “Dude, you have lilies on your glasses,” and then he was over it. He hates them, but he takes them everywhere and uses them 24/7. My dad is one of those baby boomer Argentine men that was raised to eat the whole plate, never leave a crumb behind, and never throw scraps to the trash, so buying a new pair of glasses just because his are “girly”, well, “fuck it.”
“You didn’t get to see anything, right?”, he asks ashamed but playful.
Mom is choked on her laugh, so I reply for both.
“Dad, we have no idea of what you were doing, and no, we luckily didn’t see your butt crack.”
He is finally straight on his feet and his cargo shorts well tight below his brown leather belt, the same one he has since 2003. He had lost 20 pounds before that trip to New York, right after mom was out of the hospital, and those pants were already too loose for him but the heating in my apartment in the middle of February was sweating hot. The temperature from that old Fifth-floor walkup building was inversely proportional to the cold, and it had snowed the day before.
“Thank God, ‘cause I dropped my glasses so I crouched and my shorts basically fell off.”
Those glasses are not a typical 58-year-old male lawyer, but damn they last.
“Glad they didn’t break, or you would have lost your lilies.”
“Glad you didn’t see my butt crack.”